The half-cent sales tax that funds at least part of every project in the 20-year Regional Transportation Authority plan is just one piece of the regional transportation funding matrix, and understanding how it fits in the funding picture is important to recognizing the benefits the RTA brings to the region.
The RTA’s sales tax is the largest funding source for regional transportation improvements on an annual basis. Other transportation funding sources available to the region include local, state and federal funds generated by various transportation taxes and fees.
Each funding type is typically designated for a specific use. Federal Transit Administration funding, for example, must be designated for specific transit uses and cannot be used to repair roadway surfaces, even in a bus lane.
While the Regional Transportation Authority funds can only be used on the projects or plan categories Pima County voters approved in 2006, the project selection process allowed flexibility in identifying regional transportation priorities. Based on extensive public input, the plan’s priorities include several types of transportation deliverables, including flexible funding for building wildlife crossings for improved safety or offering free business assistance services to businesses along construction projects.
RTA funds can be combined with local, state or federal funding sources to fully fund a project, or they might be used on their own to complete an RTA plan project that doesn’t qualify for another funding source.
The RTA video above illustrates the flexibility that RTA funds offer to meet regional priorities and how other funds may be applied for regional transportation improvements.